The World's Greatest Military Spies and Secret Service Agents The World's Greatest Military Spies and Secret Service Agents

The World's Greatest Military Spies and Secret Service Agents

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Publisher Description

The romance of war in its most thrilling form is exemplified in this narrative of the adventures of “The World’s Greatest Military Spies and Secret Service Agents.” Much has been published upon the subject of espionage, and the memoirs and secret histories of the courts of Europe give us instances of men and women who have gained favor and money, if not honor and glory, by selling back-stairs gossip concerning their fellow creatures; but the aim of the present work has been rather to relate the big exploits of those who faced great personal danger and risked their lives for the sake of flag and country.

Each story is complete in itself, and yet forms a link in the chain of narratives which illustrates the startling and unexpected manner in which battles have been lost and won through the shrewdness and the courage of military spies at various times in different countries of the world. All spies are not admirable. Indeed, some whose deeds are herein related seem despicable. The use of the word “spy” in this series is in its broadest, and usually its best, sense. In all of the great wars of history there have been spies, scouts, emissaries and others still with no very well defined status, who have rendered invaluable service to their governments. A spy is liable to death; a scout, if captured, has the rights of a prisoner of war, but an emissary is rather political than military, and is sent to influence secretly the opposition rather than to bring information concerning the movements of troops.

There are spies and spies. Just where the line is to be drawn must depend largely upon the personal view-point of the reader. Some of those who have been engaged in hazardous military exploits are looked upon as among the world’s greatest heroes; others who have abused the hospitality of their entertainers in order to betray them have earned never-ending obloquy. Everything depends upon the circumstances and the point of view. Human nature has been the same in all ages. We are disposed to justify and glorify the military spy who risks his life for our own country and our own cause, and to condemn and abuse the one who is enlisted in the service of the enemy.

Generally speaking, there is a natural repugnance to the professional spy in times of war, who is regarded as akin to the paid informer in times of peace. But the tendency is to applaud the real soldier who is willing to depart from the strict lines of military duty in order to serve his country. Napoleon, who can scarcely be called a scrupulous man, even by his most ardent admirers, refused to bestow the medal of honor on his chief spy. “Money, as much as you like,” he exclaimed, “but the cross—never!”

At the time of the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the late Brigadier-General Frederick Funston a question arose regarding the ethics of the means employed by some of the members of the troops under his command on that occasion. It arose in a lecture before the law class at the University of the Philippines. Justice Carson, of the Supreme Court, was asked to enlighten the students on this point. Instead of doing so, he wrote and asked General Funston’s view of the matter. The reply of the American soldier may be accepted as the authorized military view of the question. General Funston wrote:

“In a nutshell, the legal status of all those engaged in the expedition referred to was that of spies, and as such they could not have claimed immunity from the usual fate of spies. While we were not disguised for the purpose of obtaining information, the fact that we penetrated the enemy’s lines under false colors would have justified treating us as such.

Politics & Current Affairs
12 September
Library of Alexandria

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